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– 14 min read

How to write better: a quick-start guide for anyone and everyone

Anne Ichikawa

Anne Ichikawa

writing help for

Just about everyone knows how to write — but writing well is something different. Great writers are formed through hard work and a passion for learning. But just like you, they all started from the beginning.

Problem is, a lot of “start writing well’ articles focus on the result. But good writing begins before you tippity-tap on that keyboard. Studying everyday practices, learning how to organize your thoughts, and then turning those ideas into effective writing should be your priority.

Whether you’re a blogger , an SEO writer, a marketer, or want to be the next Stephen King, these universal writing tips give you lots of ways to write better.

15 writing tips to help you write better

1. think before you start writing.

One of the best writing tips for beginners is organizing your thoughts in a logical, explainable manner before putting pen on paper. The biggest hurdle is often not knowing how to begin or what to say—everything is a jumble of ideas that probably look like a bunch of paint thrown against a wall (and not in an artistic way). It can be very frustrating.

Note: THIS IS NORMAL. Don’t get discouraged. There’s a reason the phrase “writer’s block” exists. Let yourself think about it for a day or two, especially if you’re doing creative writing. You’ll be surprised at how that paint blob slowly transforms into a recognizable shape.

2. Embrace the writing “brain dump”

In business writing , the “brain dump” signals the beginning of every new project or assignment. It’s the opportunity to get whatever is in your head out on digital paper in a stream of consciousness.

Avoid correcting misspellings, typos, sentence structure, or grammar—just type, type, type until your brain excavates all musings. You can use this creative writing skill for all kinds of work, from personal blogging and copywriting to essays and work emails.

Remember that at this phase of writing: bad ideas don’t exist. Your best creative ideas will come when you’re not held back by perfectionism.

3. Make an outline

Now that you have all your wonderful, messy thoughts on paper, it’s time to get more granular and organized. Some tips on how to edit your brain dump: do a first pass and delete the parts that are definite “nos.” Then go through again and highlight the ideas you like best. Revisit the “maybes” later.

Now, take your favorites and as briefly or as detailed as you like, make an outline that conveys your message. Start top-level with your biggest, overarching ideas, and then get into the details. Fill in missing parts, elaborate on other parts—rinse and repeat until satisfied.

4. Know your audience

This is a straightforward writing tip for beginners, but a lot of people forget it. For example, your voice and elements of style for personal blogging will be much more informal than business writing (i.e writing a proposal for a new client). Being mindful of your audience is key to improving writing skills and creating more impactful work.

5. Keep a journal

Being a better writer means writing more! Keeping a journal should be a very low-pressure thing. It can be as simple as writing a list of things you did that day, playing around with word choice for a LinkedIn headline, or recounting a conversation you had with a friend.

If you don’t want to keep a physical journal, you can start a note on your phone or a document on your computer. The point is—there are no journaling rules. Just start writing whenever you feel like it, because the more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you.

6. Pen a letter instead of texting

Great writers write letters for fun and for practice. Pen a letter (or an email) to a friend who lives in another city. A hundred years ago, people wrote long letters detailing everything from the mundane to faraway travel. Why not now? It’s the perfect way to get your creative writing juices flowing, rather than relying on boring texts.

Remember to check spelling, comma use, sentence structure, typos, etc. Your friends deserve good writing too. Spell-check is a nice starting point, but writing well happens when you use a reputable grammar or punctuation checker tool like  Writer  to support you.

7. Read more to do better writing

One of the best, passive ways of becoming a better writer is to read a book (Stephen King’s work makes for great binge reading). Not into books? Long-form business writing, graphic novels, or short stories do the trick as well.

Reading every day puts you in the fast lane for improving your writing skills. As  Roz Morris , the author of the bestseller book,  Nail Your Novel , puts it: “Reading exposes us to writing that’s better than our own and helps us to improve. Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you.”

By reading more, your brain will naturally pick up on things like good word choice, different writing styles, and good sentence structures. It also improves your reading comprehension and concentration levels (which comes in handy for the procrastinators among us, including me).

8. Keep your writing simple

As the legendary American novelist, Jack Kerouac, once said, “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

One big misconception about writing is that it should be full of beautiful prose and impressive words. Wrong! Sure, I can use the word 'floccinaucinihilipilification,' but most people will just think my cat walked across my keyboard. Click To Tweet

No matter who they are, you should empower readers with your words. Complex writing can leave readers feeling insecure, weary, or both. To simplify your writing:

  • Replace adverbs with more powerful verbs (e.g. she talked quietly > she whispered)
  • Get rid of unnecessary adjectives
  • Opt for simple word choice
  • Delete fluff (e.g. instead of saying “in order to”, say “to”)

Go ahead and make use of a thesaurus, but don’t try to be a Shakespeare or even an Ernest Hemingway—just keep it simple and true to yourself.

9. Tone up your tone in writing

Getting tone right is key to being a good writer. It’s the personality of your writing, influenced by the type of writing you’re doing and who you’re talking to.

Just like we said in “Know Your Audience,” business writing like an email might sound conservative, while a personal social media post can be friendly and casual. Your tone can and should change depending on your needs. An extreme example: don’t start a cover letter with: “Hey, dude! Wassup?”

10. Prioritize your key points

If you want to learn how to write good, sentence structure and word placement is everything. If you have a question to ask, don’t put it in the middle of a paragraph, because it could get skipped over. Similarly, if you have an important piece of information to share, make it into its own paragraph or strategically place it in the introduction or conclusion—the sections readers tend to pay attention to the most.

11. Break up your writing into bite-size bits

Long sentences that are full of fluff are boring to read! Like staring directly at the sun—you just have to look away. Instead of creating a heavy block of text, break down large sections of information into concise, punchy sentences. Bullet points in particular are an amazing tool. They help you:

  • Communicate information effectively and quickly
  • Emphasize important points that are more easily remembered
  • Provide easily digestible information to the reader

(See? They come in handy) AI writing software  like Writer can help you be a better writer by identifying paragraphs that are hard to read.

12. Use active voice

Once you’re comfortable with sentence structure, punctuation and comma use, and word choice, it’s time to look at elements of style. One core element is passive voice vs. active voice.

An active voice is key for effective writing. It makes for a much more engaging read, conveying a strong and clear tone. Whereas passive voice pulls you away from the action, which can create an apathetic experience.

Here’s an example:

  • Active voice: The thief stole one million dollars (subject + verb + object).
  • Passive voice: One million dollars was stolen by the thief (object + past participle + subject).

See how in the first sentence, the subject performs the action? This eliminates extra processing time by getting to the point faster, unlike the passive voice example which puts the subject at the end of the sentence.

13. Edit (then edit again)

Now that you’ve overcome writer’s block and have the first draft, it’s time to move on to the editing process. Chances are, you’re not a professional editor, but that doesn’t matter—you can do a great job on your own. First, don’t edit immediately after writing. You want fresh eyes on that baby. Revisit it the next day and it will be easier to look for:

  • unnecessary words (like adverbs and adjectives)
  • long sentences that can be shortened
  • passive voice use

At this phase, don’t worry about grammatical errors. Right now, you’re editing for clarity of your ideas and thoughts.

14. Proof your writing

Proofreading  is where you check spelling, punctuation (i.e. comma use), run-on sentences, typos … you get the picture. Spell-check is a good starting point, a reputable grammar checker tool like Writer gives you advanced support.

Whenever possible, ask a real human to read your writing. They’ll likely be able to point out any writing mistakes  and even offer suggestions. Over time, the lessons you learn from using these tools will help you become a great writer.

15. Reflect on your main point

We’ve made it to the very end. You’ve taken your idea and found many words to make into numerous sentences that communicate your intended message… or did you?

The last step is to always take an objective look at your writing. Pretend you’re a total stranger. Now ask yourself—does the narration make logical sense? Can you read it once and understand its message? Even better, can you sum it up in a few sentences? If so, you’ve written something you can feel good about.

8 exercises to improve writing skills

Here are fun activities you can do every day to become a better writer.

1. Write every day

This is the best writing tip for beginners. Write like it’s your job. Practicing every day is key to learning how to write good. It helps you stretch those writing muscles and learn from doing. Keeping a journal with you at all times also means you can write whenever inspiration strikes, like when you’re walking your fave four-legged friend.

Write every day, and you’ll turn it into a habit. That doesn’t mean you have to write ten thousand words every day, as the author of the children’s novel,  See You in the Cosmos , Jack Cheng says:

“When mastery is the goal, spending an exorbitant number of hours in one sitting will likely lead to burnout. We don’t go to the gym expecting to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a single, day-long workout. Instead, we do several short workouts a week, spread out over months.”

2. Turn long paragraphs into bullet points

Want to learn how to write better sentences? Sentences that are easy to read and get to the point right away? Practice the art of brevity by chopping up hard-to-read paragraphs into succinct bullets.

This is especially useful for business writing because your readers are likely short on time. They want you to get to the point fast! And they want easy to digest information.

There is a place for long sentences in your work though, especially when it comes to creative writing. Writology has a great guide on this full of ace writing tips for beginners.

3. Change passive voice into active voice

A little recap on passive and active voice: Active voice is when the sentence starts with the subject acting on the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is a recipient of the verb’s action. Active voice is more engaging because it takes less processing time from the reader, and also gives the impression that the action is happening now, not in the past.

Use an AI writing platform like Writer  to spot unengaging instances of passive voice and transform them into the active voice. This will help you draw readers in and make your writing easier to read.

4. Use grammar checker tools like Writer

Use a grammar checker like Writer helps you spot mistakes you may have missed. Mistakes such as misused commas, spelling errors, typos, incorrect use of words (we’re looking at you, thesaurus lovers), etc. Writer is also ideal for business writing. You can submit your company style guide and the app will measure your written work against it to ensure consistent and on-brand content.

5. Proof your friend’s or colleague’s writing

One effective way to improve writing skills:  Proofreading  other people’s content. You can pick up on  common grammar mistakes , different sentence structures, new words, word placement – everything that you might not learn from your own writing. It’s about getting a fresh perspective on all the different ways language is used.

Bonus: you get all the good feelings for helping someone out. And they might even return the favor one day!

6. Write fanfiction

Improve your creative writing skills by writing about stories and characters you love. Why? The more passionate you are about what you’re writing, the more fun and engaging it will be to read. Because you’ll naturally inject your love of the subject into your work. Plus, you can ensure your favorite novels or short stories live on through that amazing imagination of yours! It’s also a great place to start if your idea bank is running on empty, giving you the inspiration and direction needed to write freely.

7. Read out loud

Sometimes you can’t tell if a word or phrase doesn’t work until you read it out loud. Same with spotting mistakes. This is especially true if you’ve read your work over a hundred times (hello fellow perfectionists). Your brain will find it more and more difficult to spot mistakes – reading out loud can fix this!

When you read out loud, it requires you to slow down and focus on every single word that you’re saying, so that it can make its way from your brain to your mouth. When we proofread inwardly, we tend to rush through things and don’t actually read the text properly.

That’s because our brain already has a version of the content embedded and it wants to concentrate on the meaning rather than the words. As psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos at the University of Sheffield in the UK, says : “We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.”

8. Read books on how to write better

These books on how to write better are simple, easy to read, and full of valuable info.

  • Everybody Writes by Ann Handley – for business writing, marketing, and blogging
  • On Writing  by Stephen King – for writing novels and improving your creative writing skills
  • Write Tight  by William Brohaugh – for business and creative writing, with lots of writing tips for beginners
  • The Sense of Style  by Steven Pinker – for writing novels, letters and understanding the sciences of mind when it comes to language
  • You Are a Writer  by Jeff Goins – for business writers with great writing tips for beginners
  • Nail Your Novel  by Roz Morris – for budding novelists who want to polish their first draft or write a book

That’s your next vacation reading list sorted!

Now you can write better

It’s time to unleash your amazing writing skills and creativity! Got a friend who also wants to learn how to write well? Share the tips you’ve learned today. By teaching them, you’ll embed them further into your wonderful brain.

Write with clarity and confidence when using Writer.  Sign up for your free trial .

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Best Online Writing Tutoring Services

Chegg is our pick for best online writing tutoring service

Everyone needs a little writing boost from time to time, whether they're working on a term paper, preparing for the essay portion of a standardized test, or developing niche writing skills.

Online writing tutors are a great solution to any writing issues you or your child might have, with plenty of instructors specializing in every niche imaginable, right at your fingertips. And, thanks to the pandemic and the growing need for flexible learning options, online tutoring options continue to expand.

If you're looking for professional help or a way to boost your creative writing skills, we've reviewed some of the best online writing tutoring services out there.

The 7 Best Online Writing Tutoring Services of 2024

  • Best Overall: Chegg
  • Best for High School Students: Princeton Review
  • Best for Transparent Pricing: Skooli
  • Best National: Kaplan
  • Best for Creative Writing: Wyzant
  • Best for Professional Writing: Business Writing Center
  • Our Top Picks

Princeton Review

Business Writing Center

  • See More (3)

Final Verdict

Comparing online writing tutoring services, frequently asked questions, methodology, best overall : chegg.

  • Price: Starting at about $15.95 per month
  • Grade Level: High school-age and older
  • Frequency: As needed

Chegg makes it easy to find tutors with expertise in your struggle areas. Plus, you’ll be able to submit a paper and receive feedback within 48 hours.

24/7 support

Submit papers for feedback

Plagiarism checker

Different tutor for each use

No real curriculum or lessons

Chegg covers pretty much any subject you might need writing help in, which is a comfort for students. The site has thousands of writing experts, all with their own individual expertise and specialties. Whether students need help with literary analysis, lab reports, or a history research paper, someone can assist.

Chegg’s system allows learners to submit a paper they need help with and have it checked by a suitable expert who can provide feedback within 48 hours, whether it's an answer to a specific question or a general scan of your paper and writing style.

The platform offers a subscription plan for Chegg Writing, which includes a plagiarism detector, free citation creation, and proofreading and grammar scans for an unlimited number of papers.

The writing subscription is $9.95 per month, however there is a free trial. Prices for Chegg study and tutor start at around $15.95 per month.

Best for High School Students : Princeton Review

Use promo code INVESTO15 for 15% off MSRP.

  • Price: Starts at $40 an hour up to roughly $350 to $1,450 for six-month flex plans
  • Grade Level: K-12 and higher education
  • Frequency: One to 10 hours per month, or 10 hours to 50 hours in six months

High school students will benefit from the help of expert tutors that can cater to individuals’ one-on-one needs and specific learning goals. The tutors are available 24/7 for those late-night cramming sessions.

One-on-one tutors plus premade content for academic help

Tutors available 24/7

Heavily vetted tutors include professors, teachers, PhDs and other experts

Can be expensive

No one-off sessions

Princeton Review just might be the perfect fit for high school students looking for help with their writing skills.

Whether they're looking for help on a book report, a research paper, an admissions essay, or something else, they can call on these tutors 24/7 to polish writing skills. Even better: Princeton Review's instructors are categorized by topic, so students can specifically search for tutors with expertise in whatever subject help is needed.

Rather than negotiating rates with individual tutors, Princeton Review offers several different pricing plans, including monthly subscriptions with a set number of hours per month or a more flexible plan allowing access anytime.

Monthly packages range from about $40 for one hour to roughly $340 for 10 hours per month, while six-month flex plans run from approximately $350 for 10 hours ($35 per hour) to around $1,450 for 50 hours ($29 per hour).

These flex plans allow students to log on at any time during the six months, and a session can be as short or as long as they want.

Best for Transparent Pricing : Skooli

  • Price: Starts at $0.82 a minute with pay-as-you-go; as low as $0.65 a minute if you prepay 32 hours
  • Grade Level: Elementary school through college

There’s no commitment needed with Skooli. You can use the platform as needed, and you’ll only have to pay roughly $1 per minute. 

Get help instantly 

No commitment needed

Pay per minute makes rates reasonable

15 minute minimum

No student-tutor relationship, since you’ll book as needed

Since Skooli offers tutoring in plenty of different subjects, you’re likely to be able to find writing tutors who can help tailor your essays to the specific needs of your subject. Writing a history research paper is very different from writing a literary analysis, and you can browse Skooli’s wide range of tutors to find one with the background and expertise to help with your specific project.

You can use Skooli as a long-term tutoring option—either with one specific instructor or different ones each time students log on—but it’s also designed for in-the-moment queries. The pricing structure reflects that: Skooli charges around $1 per minute rather than monthly or even hourly rates, so all time is accounted for while learning.

For the most part, tutors on Skooli are well-vetted and experienced and hold degrees and teaching certifications, so students can be sure that every minute spent will further their knowledge.

Best National : Kaplan

  • Price: Courses start at $549 (ACT prep) and $1,100 (LSAT prep)
  • Grade Level: From high school admissions through career advancement
  • Frequency: Varies by course

Kaplan is widely known and trusted for online tutoring, and offers test prep tutoring from high school admissions tests through college admissions tests and beyond. 

Robust offering

Help for specific tests

Widely known and trusted brand

Not much offered beyond test prep courses

Not for basic writing tutoring

Kaplan's name and its test prep formulas are top of the line. For students looking for private or group tutoring to prepare for a standardized test or entrance exam, Kaplan’s tutoring program is one of the most comprehensive.

Students can sign up for small-group remote classes with experienced teachers or enroll in private, one-on-one tutoring. Tutoring sessions are highly structured, including multiple full-length practice tests and in-depth explanations for scores. It’s as close as it gets to taking the test before you actually take it.

While a good portion of the tutoring focuses on the multiple-choice sections of these tests, Kaplan tutors also work with students to improve their writing skills and help them learn what the test review boards are looking for in each individual exam. The platform is for serious, long-term tutoring with highly experienced tutors and exclusive materials, not one-time sessions, and the prices reflect that.

Prices vary depending on which test you’re preparing for. If you're prepping for the ACT, you can enroll in an online class with top ACT teachers for $549. If you want one-on-one tutoring, options start at $749. If you're prepping for the LSAT, they offer a live online course for $1,100 and one-on-one tutoring plus a live online course starting at $1,999.

Best for Creative Writing : Wyzant

  • Price: Starts at $25 an hour
  • Grade Level: All, plus adults

Wyzant allows you to search for tutors in your subject matter of interest, including both gen-eds and more creative classes. 

Ability to search for the type of tutor you want

Search within your price range

24/7 access to tutors

Experience is specific to the tutor you choose

Site does not have tutors adhere to a specific methodology

No tutor/student relationship, as sessions are one-off and as-needed

While the majority of tutoring sites focus more on straightforward academics, Wyzant also includes creative writing tutors. Whether you’re a student working on an English class assignment, a creative writing major looking for a little extra guidance, or just someone wanting to dig into creative writing on your own time, there’s likely an instructor for you.

The site filters tutors by broad subject area and then by narrower expertise. Prospective students can view a tutor’s profile, rating, and hourly rate before reaching out. Many of the site’s creative writing tutors have advanced degrees or professional experience, so you can be sure you’re getting genuine expert help.

Wyzant gives students and tutors a lot of leeway to negotiate their own relationships, both in the classroom and in terms of rates. Tutors set their own fees (the average is between about $25 and $65 per hour, although there are plenty of tutors above and below that range), and the platform offers a one-hour guarantee: the first hour lesson with a new tutor is guaranteed to be a success, or it’s free. It’s a great way to dip your toe in and get help honing your craft.

Best for Professional Writing : Business Writing Center

  • Price: $69 up to $595
  • Grade Level: Adult
  • Frequency: Self-paced for four months

Business Writing Center caters specifically to professionals by teaching business writing for reports, proposals, and other important work writing. 

Specifically for business professionals

Classes for non-native speakers available

Self-paced classes may not be for everyone

Greater fee for individualized courses

Business Writing Center (BWC) isn’t your typical tutoring service.

Rather than aiming its services at secondary school-aged students, the site is geared toward business professionals looking to brush up their writing skills. While some of the offerings are more suitable for business people whose first language isn’t English, there are options for one-on-one tutoring and feedback on professional reports, proposals, and other important work documents.

Rather than hourly tutoring, BWC offers its tutoring services through “coaching” courses. The company has a few different specialties, including document writing, coaching for executive writing, and a more general individual training option.

Self-paced courses start at $69, go up to $595, and can last up to four months. They allow students to work on real-world writing projects and get personalized feedback from an experienced teacher.

An online writing tutor can help students and professionals alike brush up on their writing skills so that their finished writing projects are more successful. Since you can access these tutors from anywhere, they can accommodate most schedules and learning rhythms. We chose Chegg Study as the best overall online tutoring service because it's affordable, convenient, and offers a range of writing tutoring options.

What Is an Online Writing Tutoring Service?

An online writing tutoring service is a website or platform that connects students with writing tutors, completely online and remote. These companies may be geared toward a specific grade level or type of writing, or they may be a more general platform to connect students and tutors.

A research study found that students who sought the help of tutors in writing the second draft of essays progressed more and scored higher on their second drafts than those who did not seek help. The same study found that students who used online tutoring services in addition to in-person tutoring in their school’s writing center scored even higher than those who did not take advantage of online tutoring services.

How Much Do Online Writing Tutoring Services Cost?

Online writing tutoring services cover a wide range of prices. In general, there are two basic models: pay-per-session or subscription. For the former, students pay for access each time they use the service for tutoring help. For the latter, students pre-pay for a package that spans a certain amount of time, number of sessions, or even a mini-course that also includes one-on-one tutoring time. Many tutoring services charge $1 per minute or $35 to $60 per hour. Monthly packages can range from about $69 to thousands of dollars.

What Can You Learn From a Professional Writing Tutoring Session?

Adult professionals can expect to gain practical skills they can apply directly to the writing they do in their chosen profession. Some of those skills may include document writing, executive writing, using basic grammar and sentence structure, and writing for non-native speakers of English.

Online writing tutors may also look over previously written documents and provide edits and/or suggestions to help you polish them.

What Features Do Online Writing Tutoring Services Have?

Every tutoring service structures its offerings a little differently, and each tutor may have their own particular style of teaching. That being said, these platforms are usually based around chat functions, either video/audio or text-based (or some combination of both), and many services have some type of screen-sharing and document-sharing capabilities.

Most online writing tutors will focus on helping students apply their knowledge in a practical sense. While some might have pre-planned assignments to develop particular skills (more common in specialized subjects like creative writing or test prep), other instructors prefer to have students come prepared with an assignment they need help with and give feedback to strengthen it.

Online writing tutoring doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and we’ve tried to make selecting an instructor as easy as possible. Because “writing” is such a broad skill applied to so many different settings, we’ve sorted out some of the categories that we think will be the most useful to the largest number of students. The platforms here range from specialized expertise in niches like business writing and test prep to more general essay-writing assistance.

Students seeking a writing tutor may want a long-term preparatory course or help with an individual essay. With this in mind, we’ve included a wide range of specialties and, more importantly, price points, from pay-per-minute instant feedback to formal, highly researched, long-term prep classes that cost significantly more over the course of several months.

Rachel Weill / Getty Images

Al Chibani W. The effectiveness of online and on-to-one tutoring in the writing center on the students’ achievement: a multiple case study . Int Lett Soc Humanist Sci . 2014;41:192-197. doi:10.18052/www.scipress.com/ILSHS.41.192

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A (Very) Simple Way to Improve Your Writing

  • Mark Rennella

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It’s called the “one-idea rule” — and any level of writer can use it.

The “one idea” rule is a simple concept that can help you sharpen your writing, persuade others by presenting your argument in a clear, concise, and engaging way. What exactly does the rule say?

  • Every component of a successful piece of writing should express only one idea.
  • In persuasive writing, your “one idea” is often the argument or belief you are presenting to the reader. Once you identify what that argument is, the “one-idea rule” can help you develop, revise, and connect the various components of your writing.
  • For instance, let’s say you’re writing an essay. There are three components you will be working with throughout your piece: the title, the paragraphs, and the sentences.
  • Each of these parts should be dedicated to just one idea. The ideas are not identical, of course, but they’re all related. If done correctly, the smaller ideas (in sentences) all build (in paragraphs) to support the main point (suggested in the title).

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

Most advice about writing looks like a long laundry list of “do’s and don’ts.” These lists can be helpful from time to time, but they’re hard to remember … and, therefore, hard to depend on when you’re having trouble putting your thoughts to paper. During my time in academia, teaching composition at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I saw many people struggle with this.

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  • MR Mark Rennella is Associate Editor at HBP and has published two books, Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Leaders and The Boston Cosmopolitans .  

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How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates

Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction , a body , and a conclusion . But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body.

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Table of contents

The basics of essay structure, chronological structure, compare-and-contrast structure, problems-methods-solutions structure, signposting to clarify your structure, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay structure.

There are two main things to keep in mind when working on your essay structure: making sure to include the right information in each part, and deciding how you’ll organize the information within the body.

Parts of an essay

The three parts that make up all essays are described in the table below.

Order of information

You’ll also have to consider how to present information within the body. There are a few general principles that can guide you here.

The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex . The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.

For example, you might begin by describing a generally accepted philosophical concept, and then apply it to a new topic. The grounding in the general concept will allow the reader to understand your unique application of it.

The second principle is that background information should appear towards the beginning of your essay . General background is presented in the introduction. If you have additional background to present, this information will usually come at the start of the body.

The third principle is that everything in your essay should be relevant to the thesis . Ask yourself whether each piece of information advances your argument or provides necessary background. And make sure that the text clearly expresses each piece of information’s relevance.

The sections below present several organizational templates for essays: the chronological approach, the compare-and-contrast approach, and the problems-methods-solutions approach.

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The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go.

A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a series of events. Don’t rule out other approaches, though—even when the chronological approach is the obvious one, you might be able to bring out more with a different structure.

Explore the tabs below to see a general template and a specific example outline from an essay on the invention of the printing press.

  • Thesis statement
  • Discussion of event/period
  • Consequences
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement
  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages
  • Background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press
  • Thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation
  • High levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe
  • Literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites
  • Consequence: this discouraged political and religious change
  • Invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg
  • Implications of the new technology for book production
  • Consequence: Rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible
  • Trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention
  • Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation
  • Consequence: The large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics
  • Summarize the history described
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period

Essays with two or more main subjects are often structured around comparing and contrasting . For example, a literary analysis essay might compare two different texts, and an argumentative essay might compare the strengths of different arguments.

There are two main ways of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay: the alternating method, and the block method.

Alternating

In the alternating method, each paragraph compares your subjects in terms of a specific point of comparison. These points of comparison are therefore what defines each paragraph.

The tabs below show a general template for this structure, and a specific example for an essay comparing and contrasting distance learning with traditional classroom learning.

  • Synthesis of arguments
  • Topical relevance of distance learning in lockdown
  • Increasing prevalence of distance learning over the last decade
  • Thesis statement: While distance learning has certain advantages, it introduces multiple new accessibility issues that must be addressed for it to be as effective as classroom learning
  • Classroom learning: Ease of identifying difficulties and privately discussing them
  • Distance learning: Difficulty of noticing and unobtrusively helping
  • Classroom learning: Difficulties accessing the classroom (disability, distance travelled from home)
  • Distance learning: Difficulties with online work (lack of tech literacy, unreliable connection, distractions)
  • Classroom learning: Tends to encourage personal engagement among students and with teacher, more relaxed social environment
  • Distance learning: Greater ability to reach out to teacher privately
  • Sum up, emphasize that distance learning introduces more difficulties than it solves
  • Stress the importance of addressing issues with distance learning as it becomes increasingly common
  • Distance learning may prove to be the future, but it still has a long way to go

In the block method, each subject is covered all in one go, potentially across multiple paragraphs. For example, you might write two paragraphs about your first subject and then two about your second subject, making comparisons back to the first.

The tabs again show a general template, followed by another essay on distance learning, this time with the body structured in blocks.

  • Point 1 (compare)
  • Point 2 (compare)
  • Point 3 (compare)
  • Point 4 (compare)
  • Advantages: Flexibility, accessibility
  • Disadvantages: Discomfort, challenges for those with poor internet or tech literacy
  • Advantages: Potential for teacher to discuss issues with a student in a separate private call
  • Disadvantages: Difficulty of identifying struggling students and aiding them unobtrusively, lack of personal interaction among students
  • Advantages: More accessible to those with low tech literacy, equality of all sharing one learning environment
  • Disadvantages: Students must live close enough to attend, commutes may vary, classrooms not always accessible for disabled students
  • Advantages: Ease of picking up on signs a student is struggling, more personal interaction among students
  • Disadvantages: May be harder for students to approach teacher privately in person to raise issues

An essay that concerns a specific problem (practical or theoretical) may be structured according to the problems-methods-solutions approach.

This is just what it sounds like: You define the problem, characterize a method or theory that may solve it, and finally analyze the problem, using this method or theory to arrive at a solution. If the problem is theoretical, the solution might be the analysis you present in the essay itself; otherwise, you might just present a proposed solution.

The tabs below show a template for this structure and an example outline for an essay about the problem of fake news.

  • Introduce the problem
  • Provide background
  • Describe your approach to solving it
  • Define the problem precisely
  • Describe why it’s important
  • Indicate previous approaches to the problem
  • Present your new approach, and why it’s better
  • Apply the new method or theory to the problem
  • Indicate the solution you arrive at by doing so
  • Assess (potential or actual) effectiveness of solution
  • Describe the implications
  • Problem: The growth of “fake news” online
  • Prevalence of polarized/conspiracy-focused news sources online
  • Thesis statement: Rather than attempting to stamp out online fake news through social media moderation, an effective approach to combating it must work with educational institutions to improve media literacy
  • Definition: Deliberate disinformation designed to spread virally online
  • Popularization of the term, growth of the phenomenon
  • Previous approaches: Labeling and moderation on social media platforms
  • Critique: This approach feeds conspiracies; the real solution is to improve media literacy so users can better identify fake news
  • Greater emphasis should be placed on media literacy education in schools
  • This allows people to assess news sources independently, rather than just being told which ones to trust
  • This is a long-term solution but could be highly effective
  • It would require significant organization and investment, but would equip people to judge news sources more effectively
  • Rather than trying to contain the spread of fake news, we must teach the next generation not to fall for it

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Signposting means guiding the reader through your essay with language that describes or hints at the structure of what follows.  It can help you clarify your structure for yourself as well as helping your reader follow your ideas.

The essay overview

In longer essays whose body is split into multiple named sections, the introduction often ends with an overview of the rest of the essay. This gives a brief description of the main idea or argument of each section.

The overview allows the reader to immediately understand what will be covered in the essay and in what order. Though it describes what  comes later in the text, it is generally written in the present tense . The following example is from a literary analysis essay on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .

Transitions

Transition words and phrases are used throughout all good essays to link together different ideas. They help guide the reader through your text, and an essay that uses them effectively will be much easier to follow.

Various different relationships can be expressed by transition words, as shown in this example.

Because Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany. Although it was an outcome the Allies had hoped to avoid, they were prepared to back up their ultimatum in order to combat the existential threat posed by the Third Reich.

Transition sentences may be included to transition between different paragraphs or sections of an essay. A good transition sentence moves the reader on to the next topic while indicating how it relates to the previous one.

… Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

However , considering the issue of personal interaction among students presents a different picture.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
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  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

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The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

Cite this Scribbr article

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Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-structure/

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Princeton Review Website - Homework Help

  • Jiskha Homework Help is a hub where you can post your homework questions and receive essay help online for free from more than 200 volunteer tutors. Consider trying this one if you feel lucky, as there’s no guarantee that you will receive an answer immediately. On the other hand, the service is free, and it’s worth trying. Of course, this isn’t the best way to find research paper help, for example—volunteers just don’t have enough time to write papers for you. But if you’re looking for answers to tricky school or college questions—this is a good choice. Search through answers in various fields—science, algebra, foreign languages, history, social studies, music, and more. You can scroll both new 2023 topics and archives. There are hundreds of pages with useful information for your studies.
  • Chegg Online Tutoring has a team of certified tutors who are ready to help you with essay writing. Though Chegg is better known for its book deals, judging by students’ reviews, this trustful service can succeed in everything they do. Need 1-on-1 consultation? Download Chegg Tutors application for iOS or Android. With the app, you can get a tutor’s help even away from home. You also should give Chegg Tutors a chance because it offers a free trial to newcomers! The trial includes a free 30 minutes of online tutoring. Think about all those challenging assignments you have, and you won’t want to refuse this offer!
  • WyzAnt helps students improve their outcomes through customized learning. It means that lessons are developed to meet a student’s individual needs. WyzAnt gives you opportunities to get the knowledge you missed in college. On their website, you’ll meet only professional educators. By the way, by using the word “meet” we mean real, in-person lessons you can book! Not everyone feels comfortable when learning via Skype or chat. That’s why these lessons are a popular option among students. Still not sure? Then, you may want to know about the technical advantages—WyzAnt has specific software to connect you with your tutor that includes high-quality video and audio, code editors for programming languages, and a whiteboard to share.
  • Tutor is a special service offering online tutors ready to help you with your studies 24/7. On Tutor, you won’t meet a teacher who has no degree. Instead, the 3,000 employees are experts in their fields and have at least a Bachelor’s degree. The organization supports the idea of confidentiality. So don’t be worried that someone will know about your lessons with Tutor. There’s also a department for U.S. military families. This way, military-connected students can get assignment help all year and improve their knowledge. Tutor also has an app for iOS and Android , so feel free to use it.
  • PrestoExperts makes it incredibly easy to benefit from tutors’ expertise. If you prefer to see and hear your instructor instead of typing in chat, this service is what you need. Learning becomes much easier when you find a personal tutor. How does it work on PrestoExperts? You choose a tutor, and then write them an email or open the live chat. Next, you explain your task to the tutor and get possible solutions to your problem. If you agree with the price and the task—you pay for services. The consultation portion is always free.
  • WizIQ is a popular platform used by educators and trainers to reach learners all over the world. Would you like to study on the go? With this service, online learning is fast and easy. WizIQ also sells software for virtual education. Students and teachers are not the only ones interested in such software. It’s an excellent option for corporate education, too. It also provides e-learning analytics. You can increase the effectiveness of your teaching videos. For this purpose, just check the time students spend watching your lectures.

Tutor Matching - Tutor Finding Service

  • Tutorhub is a great place to receive online writing help with essays, research papers, and any other assignments. You will be able to choose your perfect tutor match and learn more about the author before asking a question. Tutorhub has hundreds of reviews to show you the benefits of its service. Buy online lessons for $28-$42 per hour on any topic, and you’ll be sure to get a 100% satisfactory result. The service offers a money-back guarantee for many cases.The best part: You can save the lecture to revisit later. A great feature to use when preparing for an exam!
  • Tutormatching service will help you find your perfect tutor match. It’s important that this service looks for your perfect match according to the parameters of your choice. Many tutors on this site are volunteers. Usually, rates differ depending on the academic field, tutor’s experience and degree, and rating. Every educator has a particular number of stars depending on their reviews.
  • Buddy School is an easy-to-use online tutoring platform that speaks students’ language. A beneficial feature of this service is a wide choice of foreign languages. You can find a coach in German, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, Czech, Arabic, and even Ancient Greek. Here are short guidelines on how to start your lessons—find a tutor among an excellent pick of experts and book time. Choose tutors wisely—there are often free minutes included in the schedule. You can find this information on each teacher’s profile.
  • Tutorvista offers a choice of hourly and monthly packages. One-on-one online tutoring sessions can help you writing essays that rock. Book personalized one-to-one lessons to improve your knowledge. Tutorvista offers the opportunity to buy various packages. The options include monthly lessons with tutors. Prepare for school or college with video lectures. The writing mode on a whiteboard will help you to memorize the information quickly.
  • TLC Live delivers qualified online tutoring to students of different ages and specialization. You can start by using a free trial version or asking a few free questions. Book lessons from qualified teachers for children starting from 1st grade. TLC Live guarantees 100% safety as they interview each teacher to make sure they’re appropriate for educating kids. They also perform criminal record checks.

💡 Critique and Suggestions

Have you chosen your perfect tutor match from the previous list? Another way to get essay help online is to have your paper reviewed by a qualified editor. Importantly, not only can you receive comments on the strong and weak sides of your paper but also professional advice on how to make it better:

  • PaperRater provides spelling, grammar, and style check and, suggestions. This site offers free proofreading services, but you will benefit even more from personalized comments from an experienced tutor. The good thing about this is: You can use PaperRater for free. Choosing this option, you get 50 submissions (five pages/each). If you want to get 200 submissions (20 pages/each), the requirements are $14.95 and many research papers to check with your premium account.
  • Essay Judge evaluates your writing and gives qualified advice on how to make it better. Importantly, you can also receive an expert’s feedback for free. Yes, that’s true. While many analogical websites use machines to check your text, Essay Judge attracts volunteer teachers. They spend about 30 minutes a day and help a couple of students to improve writing skills.

Essay Judge Homepage

  • Essay Reviewer corrects your mechanical errors and makes suggestions as to not only structure but also even the content of your paper. Overnight revisions can help you writing essays in various subjects and on different study levels. This service is appropriate for 5th-grade students and useful to work with for your spelling, structure, and grammar. You don’t even have to match reviewed materials with the original for comparison—your assignments are done in track changes version. So, you can easily see all your mistakes and learn from them.
  • WriteCheck specializes in plagiarism detection but can give you suggestions as to your writing style as well. Along with plagiarism and grammar check, this service can provide online qualified tutoring help. Whether you write a nursing paper or literature review, checking for plagiarism is significant. Of course, not everyone can pay for every page. But you can test yourself with a plagiarism quiz. It will show you how plagiarized your papers might be, and how to avoid this plagiarism in the future.
  • Proof-Reading Service offers qualified proofreading and editing help. You can have your essay polished by experienced editors here. This service has several departments—for journal articles, scientific papers, theses and dissertations, and other types. Sharing your papers is usually done through Dropbox or email.
  • Grammar Check for Sentence is a fast tool for editing any type of text. It’s absolutely free, and all you need to do is to copy and paste your content into the field. Of course, you should review the results as the algorithm of this software doesn’t work perfectly—it can misjudge parts of speech, prepositions, and so on. But it’s also a nice check of your writing skills.
  • Reverso Speller is another spelling checker that can find any mistake. It’s also connected to several dictionaries so that you can see the definition and synonyms of the miswritten word. There are several types of corrections. All of them are illustrated at the end of the web-page. They even underline words the algorithm can’t recognize—so you won’t miss foreign words or rare terms.
  • Virtual Writing Tutor is another way to get a high-quality paper. You can check spelling and grammar, verify your word count, and evaluate if your text is paraphrased well. Moreover, Virtual Writing Tutor has a speech recognition tool. With its help, you can record your text to get a written document. You can also turn your text into an MP3 audio format and download it to your computer.
  • Slick Write is a safe way to check your document’s grammar and style. It works on the same principles as Grammarly does but also gives you a lot of statistics like vocabulary analysis, reading time, readability index, average paragraph length, and so on. The statistics are useful to improve your style, make the paper more readable, and original. Slick Write also has a tool called Associator. It helps a lot during the writing process because you can find connections for any word.

Write Better Website for Grammar Checking

  • Hemingway App . Searching for a free tool to check your readability? Give Hemingway App a try. You can use it whether online or via the desktop app. Just put in your text and get instant results. The service highlights all sentences that are difficult to read, passive voice usage, wordiness, and phrases with simpler alternatives.
  • Readable.io is one more tool to check your readability. Learn to use one of the scores like Flesch Reading Ease or Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to determine how difficult your paper is to read and understand. The service underlines all the challenging parts, including passive voice, wordiness, and too many syllables. After corrections, you can check the text one more time to make sure it fits your needs.

📜 Free Essay Samples

Another effective studying tactic is learning by copying . The following online collections of essay samples can help you write your own masterpiece:

  • Skyline College argumentative paper samples will show you how to present and defend your position on a certain controversial issue. Pay special attention to a thesis statement and arguments used by the authors, focus on the logical structure and line of argument.
  • Writing For College are great for learning the main principles of pointing out the strong and weak sides of a certain topic. Learn how to critique without criticizing too much.
  • Western Technical College will show you effective narration tactics you may use in your own papers. Pay special attention to word choice, use of verbs, and most frequently used expressions.
  • Essay Basics offers a sample of papers from professional custom writers. Read those examples on debatable topics like environment protection, sex education, the importance of science, euthanasia issues, and so on.
  • Studycorgi.com provides its users free access to the essay sample database. All academic paper examples are written by A-grade students. The website’s visitors can find here any topic on every college/university subject.

23 Free Essay Examples

  • Good Luck IELTS —examples for those who are preparing for exams. You can read eight examples of typical IELTS essays on such topics as university and gender issues, gap year, athlete salaries, and others.
  • IvyPanda is a custom writing company that provides an access to 100,000+ academic paper examples. Here, you will find argumentative, persuasive, explanatory, descriptive, expository, and narrative essays, as well as case studies, research and term papers.
  • 123 Help Me is a fantastic collection of essay examples on ancient and modern literature. Find a paper on any literature topic you like—from Antigone to Fahrenheit 451. But make sure to use them only as a sample. Beware of plagiarism on the way to your academic success.

Sample analytical essays won’t teach you analytical thinking skills because you already have them. By using samples, however, you will easily detect sample words and expressions that should be used in analytical writing. Pay special attention to transition words, which connect different sections of your essay and make your project clearer. Getting essay help online is a perfect reason to stay connected while doing your homework. Take advantage of the best student resources to study smarter!

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Can I Use Free Essays: Is It Plagiarism?

Can I Use Free Essays: Is It Plagiarism?

Thanks for introducing a little rationality into this debate.

Hi Karinthia,

I’m happy that this list helped you! I hope to see you again on our blog.

Very useful information but still there are few more reputable online tutoring websites that are missing in the list above. Some of the names are Coursehero, Solutioninn, Transtutor, tutor.com and brainmass. I hope this information may be useful if used with the list above.

Thank you for the information, Alex!

Beautiful information. Sample analytical essays won’t teach you analytical thinking skills because you already have them.

Thank you for the feedback, Frances!

The article is too good to know some best options for writing services. I would like to share it so that everyone can get this information.

Thank you for your kind words, Daisy! Feel free to share the article 🙂

i am so happy about this app.it helps a lot. i am happy .thank you for creating this app.it is reliable and useful. thank you for creating this app

Glad you liked it!🙂 Thank you for the feedback!

Great Blogs

Thanks for the feedback, Robert!

Thanks for the feedback!

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.

Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]

This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.

Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)

This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.

Creating a Roadmap (PDF)

Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.

writing help for

Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

In Word, you can create a form that others can fill out and save or print.  To do this, you will start with baseline content in a document, potentially via a form template.  Then you can add content controls for elements such as check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. Optionally, these content controls can be linked to database information.  Following are the recommended action steps in sequence.  

Show the Developer tab

In Word, be sure you have the Developer tab displayed in the ribbon.  (See how here:  Show the developer tab .)

Open a template or a blank document on which to base the form

You can start with a template or just start from scratch with a blank document.

Start with a form template

Go to File > New .

In the  Search for online templates  field, type  Forms or the kind of form you want. Then press Enter .

In the displayed results, right-click any item, then select  Create. 

Start with a blank document 

Select Blank document .

Add content to the form

Go to the  Developer  tab Controls section where you can choose controls to add to your document or form. Hover over any icon therein to see what control type it represents. The various control types are described below. You can set properties on a control once it has been inserted.

To delete a content control, right-click it, then select Remove content control  in the pop-up menu. 

Note:  You can print a form that was created via content controls. However, the boxes around the content controls will not print.

Insert a text control

The rich text content control enables users to format text (e.g., bold, italic) and type multiple paragraphs. To limit these capabilities, use the plain text content control . 

Click or tap where you want to insert the control.

Rich text control button

To learn about setting specific properties on these controls, see Set or change properties for content controls .

Insert a picture control

A picture control is most often used for templates, but you can also add a picture control to a form.

Picture control button

Insert a building block control

Use a building block control  when you want users to choose a specific block of text. These are helpful when you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the document's specific purpose. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then use a building block control as the container for the rich text content controls.

building block gallery control

Select Developer and content controls for the building block.

Developer tab showing content controls

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

combo box button

Select the content control, and then select Properties .

To create a list of choices, select Add under Drop-Down List Properties .

Type a choice in Display Name , such as Yes , No , or Maybe .

Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

Fill in any other properties that you want.

Note:  If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice.

Insert a date picker

Click or tap where you want to insert the date picker control.

Date picker button

Insert a check box

Click or tap where you want to insert the check box control.

Check box button

Use the legacy form controls

Legacy form controls are for compatibility with older versions of Word and consist of legacy form and Active X controls.

Click or tap where you want to insert a legacy control.

Legacy control button

Select the Legacy Form control or Active X Control that you want to include.

Set or change properties for content controls

Each content control has properties that you can set or change. For example, the Date Picker control offers options for the format you want to use to display the date.

Select the content control that you want to change.

Go to Developer > Properties .

Controls Properties  button

Change the properties that you want.

Add protection to a form

If you want to limit how much others can edit or format a form, use the Restrict Editing command:

Open the form that you want to lock or protect.

Select Developer > Restrict Editing .

Restrict editing button

After selecting restrictions, select Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .

Restrict editing panel

Advanced Tip:

If you want to protect only parts of the document, separate the document into sections and only protect the sections you want.

To do this, choose Select Sections in the Restrict Editing panel. For more info on sections, see Insert a section break .

Sections selector on Resrict sections panel

If the developer tab isn't displayed in the ribbon, see Show the Developer tab .

Open a template or use a blank document

To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls. Content controls include things like check boxes, text boxes, and drop-down lists. If you’re familiar with databases, these content controls can even be linked to data.

Go to File > New from Template .

New from template option

In Search, type form .

Double-click the template you want to use.

Select File > Save As , and pick a location to save the form.

In Save As , type a file name and then select Save .

Start with a blank document

Go to File > New Document .

New document option

Go to File > Save As .

Go to Developer , and then choose the controls that you want to add to the document or form. To remove a content control, select the control and press Delete. You can set Options on controls once inserted. From Options, you can add entry and exit macros to run when users interact with the controls, as well as list items for combo boxes, .

Adding content controls to your form

In the document, click or tap where you want to add a content control.

On Developer , select Text Box , Check Box , or Combo Box .

Developer tab with content controls

To set specific properties for the control, select Options , and set .

Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each control that you want to add.

Set options

Options let you set common settings, as well as control specific settings. Select a control and then select Options to set up or make changes.

Set common properties.

Select Macro to Run on lets you choose a recorded or custom macro to run on Entry or Exit from the field.

Bookmark Set a unique name or bookmark for each control.

Calculate on exit This forces Word to run or refresh any calculations, such as total price when the user exits the field.

Add Help Text Give hints or instructions for each field.

OK Saves settings and exits the panel.

Cancel Forgets changes and exits the panel.

Set specific properties for a Text box

Type Select form Regular text, Number, Date, Current Date, Current Time, or Calculation.

Default text sets optional instructional text that's displayed in the text box before the user types in the field. Set Text box enabled to allow the user to enter text into the field.

Maximum length sets the length of text that a user can enter. The default is Unlimited .

Text format can set whether text automatically formats to Uppercase , Lowercase , First capital, or Title case .

Text box enabled Lets the user enter text into a field. If there is default text, user text replaces it.

Set specific properties for a Check box .

Default Value Choose between Not checked or checked as default.

Checkbox size Set a size Exactly or Auto to change size as needed.

Check box enabled Lets the user check or clear the text box.

Set specific properties for a Combo box

Drop-down item Type in strings for the list box items. Press + or Enter to add an item to the list.

Items in drop-down list Shows your current list. Select an item and use the up or down arrows to change the order, Press - to remove a selected item.

Drop-down enabled Lets the user open the combo box and make selections.

Protect the form

Go to Developer > Protect Form .

Protect form button on the Developer tab

Note:  To unprotect the form and continue editing, select Protect Form again.

Save and close the form.

Test the form (optional)

If you want, you can test the form before you distribute it.

Protect the form.

Reopen the form, fill it out as the user would, and then save a copy.

Creating fillable forms isn’t available in Word for the web.

You can create the form with the desktop version of Word with the instructions in Create a fillable form .

When you save the document and reopen it in Word for the web, you’ll see the changes you made.

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Google quietly launches internal AI model named 'Goose' to help employees write code faster, leaked documents show

  • Google has an internal large language model named Goose, designed to make employees more productive.
  • Goose is trained on "25 years of engineering expertise at Google."
  • The company is leveraging AI as part of a bigger efficiency push.

As Google injects artificial intelligence into every product it possibly can, it’s also turning to AI to make its business more efficient.

The company has launched a large language model named Goose that's just for employees. It is designed to assist with building new products, according to internal documents reviewed by Business Insider.

The documents describe Goose as a “descendant of Gemini,” its big new large language model . Goose is “trained on the sum total of 25 years of engineering expertise at Google,” one of the documents states.

“It can answer questions around Google-specific technologies, write code using internal tech stacks and supports novel capabilities such as editing code based on natural language prompts,” an internal summary of Goose reads.

Leveraging AI internally could be a key factor in Google’s new efficiency drive, which has resulted in leadership cutting thousands of jobs over the past 13 months and a number of team re-orgs. Google finance chief Ruth Porat hinted at initiatives like this during the company’s recent earnings call , telling analysts that Google was working to “slow expense growth” through a variety of tactics including “streamlining operations across Alphabet through the use of AI.” 

One internal document notes that Goose is part of a plan to “bring AI to every stage of the product development process.” 

A Google spokesperson didn't respond to a request for comment.

Goose appears to be available for at least some employees to use right now, however, it’s not clear if it’s fully functional in terms of its abilities. One document notes that Goose “is also planned to be the first general-purpose LLM approved for internal coding use at Google.”

“Goose has a 28k token context window, which makes it particularly valuable for development tasks,” it adds. Token context windows refer to the amount of text, numbers, and other information a language model can take into account when processing a query. That's especially important for coding, which can include hundreds of thousands of lines of code.

The documents note that the creation of Goose was a collaborative effort between Google Brain, DeepMind, and Google's internal infrastructure teams. The company merged Brain and DeepMind last year to build Gemini, which was in turn named after the twin teams that created it.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Google isn't the only tech company using its own AI models and products to boost productivity. Microsoft recently rolled out its Copilot tool to internal teams , Business Insider reported.

And Goose isn't the only example of Google using AI to be more efficient.

The company uses AI to try to reduce the amount of energy required to cool its data centers, for example. It is also increasingly pushing advertisers to use AI automated products for deciding where their money should be spent across Google's products.

For now at least, Google insists that AI is not taking away employees’ jobs.

“We’re not restructuring because AI is taking away any jobs,” said Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler, after Business Insider’s reported layoffs in Google’s ad sales team as part of a re-org .

Goose could become increasingly useful for employees. The tool was designed with a "focus on new engineering-related capabilities," one of the documents reads, suggesting it could go well beyond the existing development tools offered to staff.

And if Googlers have specific development questions while using Goose, they're encouraged to turn to the company's internal chatbot, named Duckie.

Are you a current or former Google employee? Got something to share??

You can reach reporter Hugh Langley via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 628-228-1836) or email ( [email protected] )

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Watch: Google's DeepMind AI just taught itself to walk

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  5. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out ...

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  18. Online Writing Help & Tutoring Services

    Writing is a way to express thoughts, information and ideas with words. There are many different forms of writing, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose and essays. Every form of writing requires proper use of grammar, spelling and structure. If you struggle with writing, the tutors at 24HourAnswers are available 24/7 to help.

  19. 150 Best Writing Tools and Resources [2023 Edition]

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  20. Free Essay Help Online: 31 Reliable Websites [2024 Update]

    Online writing help is one of the best things the Internet has to offer. Despite numerous distractions, kitten videos, and friends' status updates, it's better to stay connected while doing written homework. Why? You can get essay help online. Here's a list of 21+ sites for hiring tutors, having your papers reviewed, and even using samples.

  21. Getting Started

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  22. Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

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  23. Days after writing a story about CPR, reporter used it on her dad

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  24. Essay Writing Guide

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  25. People are using ChatGPT to write performance reviews

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  27. Google Launches Internal AI Model 'Goose' to Help Staff Code Faster

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